A mother wept in the dock of an Old Bailey courtoom yesterday as she admitted killing her three disabled children.
Tania Clarence, 42, pleaded guilty on grounds of diminished responsibility to the manslaughter of Olivia, four, and three-year-old twins Ben and Max. She denied murdering the children in April this year. Ms Clarence was tearful as she entered her pleas while her husband Gary looked on.
Police were called to the family’s five bedroom home in New Malden, south-west London, at 9.30pm on 22 April. The children were pronounced dead at the scene.
All three had suffered from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy. Also known as floppy baby syndrome, the genetic condition leaves children with little control of their movements and can drastically shorten life expectancy.
Gary Clarence, an investment banker, was with their eldest child, Taya, eight, in the family’s native South Africa at the time of the deaths.
Ms Clarence was remanded to a secure psychiatric unit. A provisional date for her trial, which is expected to last three to four weeks, has been set for 21 February next year.